Veteran Fred Couples Rolls Back Years at Augusta
25 years ago, Fred Couples secured the Green Jacket after seeing off the challenge from the experienced Raymond Floyd. He was the world number one and pre-tournament favourite. Now 57 and with a troublesome back, the American has found himself back in contention after two rounds at the Masters.
The cool and charismatic Couples has long been a favourite with the spectators in Georgia, and has developed the reputation of being an Augusta National specialist, particularly in his senior years. He has now made 29 cuts in 32 appearances, and had previously rolled back the years with top 20 finishes each edition between 2010 and 2014.
However, he comfortably missed the cut in 2015 and was absent 12 months ago due to long-standing back trouble that has long affected his career. Returning to his favourite playground, the World Golf Hall of Famer has appeared rejuvenated and thrived in the challenging conditions, using his experience and class to position himself within three shots of the lead at the halfway stage.
Following an opening round of 73, he moved under-par with three early birdies on Friday. Those came on the second, third and fifth, but he came unstuck with a double bogey on the sixth. It would not dispell his form, however, as the veteran rolled in birdie putts on the seventh and 13th to sit amongst the youngsters on the leaderboard.
He made a disappointing par on the 15th and dropped shots on the 16th and 17th, but he produced a moment of magic on the last, coming agonisingly close to holing his approach for eagle. No one enjoyed it more than the man himself.
"I'm a lot older than I was when I was 30, which is kind of hard to believe."— PGA TOUR Champions (@ChampionsTour) April 7, 2017
Especially with shots like this.pic.twitter.com/3GWXmuw8cS
We'll discover over the weekend whether Couples could achieve an historic success and become the oldest winner of the Masters by 11 years, but he has already stored more good memories for himself and his fans, a quarter of a century after the greatest of them all at Augusta.
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